Grand River pizza joints compete for slice of the action

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There are more than ten pizza places between Harrison road and Hagadorn, and two more have joined Grand River.

Pizza, meet fire. Blaze Pizza and Lotsa Pizza have opened their doors on Grand River. Both offer make-your-own, fire-scorched pies.

“We pride ourselves in having a pizza dough to done in under five minutes,” said Lotsa manager Greg Hunt.

Both restaurants opened within a month of each other, and just a couple of blocks. Each offers customers the chance to select their own toppings and sauces while watching it cook in an oven right in front of them.

The Subway-esque, assembly-line style of pizza making is new to the MSU scene.

Despite the new competition, longtime local pizza shop owners feel confident that their businesses will weather on.

“We’ve been around for 22 years,” said Georgio’s Pizza owner Thomas Alimonos. “We have our own customers and I don’t really worry. Customers love the idea that this is a family place.”

Bell’s Pizza has been open since 1967, and owner Habib Jarwan credits its longevity to the store’s dedication to quality.

“Keep it fresh, you know?” said Jarwan.

The congested pizza scene breeds competition, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“The more restaurants in the area, the better, it will create more traffic for us.” said Jarwan. “I have my own customers, I’m sure [Blaze and Lotsa] are going to have their own customers.”

And Alimonos says the competition could ultimately hurt Blaze and Lotsa more.

“They’re going to compete between the two of them,” said Alimonos. “I don’t really worry.”

Spartans have many options when they’re deciding where to get a slice. Do they want to visit a locally-owned shop or a chain? Make-your-own pizza, or pre-made?

“The strongest [pizza shop] will stay,” said Jarwan.

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